Skip to main content

Hands forking over $100 bills.
Wall Street Democrats—or if you will, Third Way, Blue Dog, DLC, or New Democrats—think they've got the winning formula for the future. That entails a "pragmatic" bowing to Republican demands and slashing entitlements in the name of deficit reduction. That's either because they're not so bright and have been duped into thinking that Republicans actually care about deficit reduction, or because what they're really pragmatic about is reelection, and it's a lot easier to achieve that by getting big fat contributions from the big money people.
“The real struggle within the Democratic Party is where you stand on income inequality and whether the government needs to be a part of fixing that problem,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The demographics that the Democratic Party must attract are the people who need responsive government.”

Moderate Democrats counter that center-versus-left formulations are outdated—while making an emphatic case for pragmatism.

“I know what has been incredibly successful for the party and country: the banner of reform and change,” said [Rahm] Emanuel, adding that there is “no part of the budget that’s immune to reform and change” so long as Democrats don’t abandon their traditional “mission.” [...]

The differences in the Democratic coalition are razor sharp. Take the question of whether Obama and Congress should consider raising the eligibility age for future Medicare recipients as a way to find savings.

“That stuff you debate out,” said Emanuel, adding: “I don’t think raising the age of Medicare to 67 is a centrist or a liberal idea.”

But to a progressive stalwart like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) such an idea isn’t just ill-considered — it’s “morally reprehensible.”

“That is such a Washington, Heritage Foundation construction,” Brown said of raising the eligibility age.
Reminded that some of his own colleagues are open to it, he shot back: “They’re wrong.”

That would be the same Rahm Emanuel who was sure Democrats would lose the 2006 election if they ran on the Iraq war. So forgive me for questioning whether this guy really has his finger on the pulse of the electorate. Also, too, Sherrod Brown just won reelection in a race that saw unholy and unheard of amounts of money poured into the race against him. He won by being the same populist he's always been. And between the Wall Street-friendly, moderate Republican Scott Brown and the populist Elizabeth Warren, well that's history.

One of these pragmatists, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, says, "My hope for our party is that we remember that 99 percent of workers at financial institutions are good, middle-class people,” and he's worried his party will alienate them. Markell, and all Democrats, should be worrying about the other 99 percent, the mass of the electorate that has a lot more to worry about than whether someone in Congress is being mean to their bosses. Like how they'll live if they're forced to wait until age 67 to get Medicare.

So what's pragmatic in terms of electoral success for Democrats? Recognizing the demographics that elected Barack Obama twice and has kept the Senate Democratic? Continuing to stand for what the Democratic Party has stood for since FDR, the common good? Or keeping big donors happy? Unfortunately, for too many Democrats, that's a difficult choice.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site